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Old May 3rd, 2006, 05:04 PM   #1
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Best way to record audio from a boat?

This summer I'll be filming the next tubing video for my site, www.fansn.com. As you can tell from the last video, all audio is completely overshadowed by the droaning noise of the boat engine. What i'm trying to figure out is a way to record audio of the tubers, to hear what their saying, the splashing, etc.

My idea is this. On the back of the boat, about a 4ft light pole extends vertically. The filmer is usually sitting in the back seat next to this pole, with a extension cord connected from the camera to the top of the pole, where a shotgun microphone will be attached pointing towards the tubers.

What would be your suggestions for a cheap, durable microphone for this situation? I don't want anything overly nice since there will be a ton of bumping, and the chance of the thing flying off into the water. Also, what microphone would also be the best for picking up the audio from the tubers (and the tubers only) from about 60ft away?

Also, if there is a better way to do this then what i'm thinking here, what would you recommend?

Thanks!
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 05:23 PM   #2
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60 feet is an incredibly long distance for any conventional mic - shotguns aren't like a camera lens and don't magnify sounds the way a telephoto lens magnifys images. While they can have more apparent sensitivity than other types it's mostly only apparent instead of real because their rejection of off-axis sound lets you increase the recording level a bit more than you otherwise might but this is all relative. Even shotguns work best when they are only 1 or 2 feet away from the sound source so I'd be very surprised of this plan worked very well.

You might want to google for "parabolic microphone" and see if you can come up with some DIY ideas for one. Birders and wildlife filmmakers use them to reach out and capture distant sound and they are used to eavesdrop on conversations from a distance. You can make one out of an old Snow Saucer and a cheap Radio Snak microphone.

Another thought, although a bit risky to the gear, is to go wireless and enclose the mics and transmitters in those heavy duty baggy kind of things snorkelers sometimes put cameras in and put them on the tubers.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 06:14 PM   #3
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Even a parabolic mic will have problems in this situation due to the close proximity and high sound pressure level of the engine to the microphone. I think wireless on the tube (or tuber) is your best bet. A trick that I have seen is one of those tiny Pelican cases (with the clear top) with a waterproof lav fed through a hole sealed with silicon caulk. The case interior was padded to protect the transmitter, and the whole deal floated if dropped. They do make waterproof wireless systems if you happen to have a budget, or you could rent one for the day of the shoot.
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Old May 3rd, 2006, 08:03 PM   #4
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Can you modify a life jacket to hold a wireless? Some lavs are said to be highly water resistant; the transmitter might go into a waterproof pouch which would be transparent to RF.
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Old May 4th, 2006, 12:51 AM   #5
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Wireless might be to risky and expensive. You guys however did give me the idea of using the iRiver mp3 player to do this. What i think i'm going to do is mount it on the largest tube, least likely to flip over. Waterproof it (and maybe shock proof it a bit with padding) and have a cheap microphone angled towards the tubbers. The tubers themselves are knocked in the water waaaay to much to risk it, but this should work i believe

Thanks guys, don't know why i didn't think of that in the first place!
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Old May 4th, 2006, 07:38 PM   #6
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An independent cameraman here encased a Lectrosonic in a small Pelican case and strapped it onto a surfer. He said he got great audio from the guy when he went through a tube up on the North Shore.

I'm planning to make a pair of waterproof pouches for my ATW-101's to cover kayak fishing and other activities where getting dunked is a real possibility. These pouches are originally intended to protect marine VHF radios and seal up nicely. The modification consists of a short wire with the right TA5 plug and socket on each end, sealed through the bag, so that the mic doesn't have to be fed through a the bag's clamped opening.

Sending the wire through the clamped seal of the pouch not only strains the mic wire but also violates the integrity of the seal -- and will cause it to leak. By sending a patch cable through the wall of the bag and sealing it with 3M 5200, it's a foolproof connection.
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Old May 5th, 2006, 05:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Sensui
An independent cameraman here encased a Lectrosonic in a small Pelican case and strapped it onto a surfer. He said he got great audio from the guy when he went through a tube up on the North Shore.

I'm planning to make a pair of waterproof pouches for my ATW-101's to cover kayak fishing and other activities where getting dunked is a real possibility. These pouches are originally intended to protect marine VHF radios and seal up nicely. The modification consists of a short wire with the right TA5 plug and socket on each end, sealed through the bag, so that the mic doesn't have to be fed through a the bag's clamped opening.

Sending the wire through the clamped seal of the pouch not only strains the mic wire but also violates the integrity of the seal -- and will cause it to leak. By sending a patch cable through the wall of the bag and sealing it with 3M 5200, it's a foolproof connection.
How are you going to waterproof the microphones themselves?
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Old May 5th, 2006, 06:04 AM   #8
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If he uses Contryman B6 mics with the caps on, he won't have to waterproof them. They already are.

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Old May 5th, 2006, 06:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
How are you going to waterproof the microphones themselves?
Good point.

I use Countryman B3's. They're about as close to waterproof as you can get. I heard about a demo where a Countryman rep used one to stir his coffee.

Makes for an expensive stirring stick. And they're actually too small to get the sugar off the bottom of the cup efficiently. But I guess he made his point! :-)
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Old May 5th, 2006, 06:27 AM   #10
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Done it with B6s, but not B3s.

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Old May 5th, 2006, 06:34 AM   #11
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I was considering covering the end with a cut-off piece of a latex glove and securing with with a dental floss wrap. I think that's what the cameraman did when he rigged the surfer with the wireless unit.

Even tho the mic is water resistant I noticed that if the screen gets a drop of water on it the audio gets muffled. The latex cover will help prevent that from happening. And it'll provide a little extra security as well.
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Old May 5th, 2006, 07:11 AM   #12
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All this tech talk aside, with tubing aren't you just gonna get a lot of screaming?

:-)
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Old May 5th, 2006, 08:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Sensui
I was considering covering the end with a cut-off piece of a latex glove and securing with with a dental floss wrap. I think that's what the cameraman did when he rigged the surfer with the wireless unit.

Even tho the mic is water resistant I noticed that if the screen gets a drop of water on it the audio gets muffled. The latex cover will help prevent that from happening. And it'll provide a little extra security as well.
Yes, a single drop of water can obliterate the audio if it lands on the screen.

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Old May 5th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #14
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How about noise cancellation?

I have no experience with this, but would it be possible to separately mic the engine noise, and use that track to cancel a lot of the engine noise from the track that has the sound you want to keep?

I am a complete novice with noise cancellation. Correct me if I am wrong.
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Old May 5th, 2006, 10:58 AM   #15
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not possible.

Try an electric outboard motor. Quieter, but probably not quiet enough.

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